December 2, 2013

real talk

In my short time abroad, I have experienced some interesting events in the countries I have chosen to call home, from the bombing in South Korea near Seoul where I was living at the time to the floods of 2010 when we were forced out of our home for over 2 months. Now the city I live in is again making global headlines with the recent demonstrations and protests trying to overthrow the current government powers. Just another day in paradise.
Photo via JapanTimes

The media has a way of sensationalizing things as we all know, especially American media reporting about anything not in America, they don't seem to understand the facts all the time and they always seem to forget that just because it is not done the same as it is in America, it is not the right way (hell, even I find myself thinking this at times!) but I want to try and clear up some of the misconceptions of what is happening in Bangkok right now.

{If you don't know anything about the political situation in Thailand because you are living in a bubble, CNN actually did a good job explaining the situation to someone who doesn't know anything about Thailand but the Nation is the English/Thai source I have been following as well as many concerned citizens on twitter.}

I live in Bangkok, granted not in the middle of the city, but right on a BTS line and I use this to travel around the city quite often. Where I live and most other parts of the city are completely normal, there is no protests, no police presence, everything seems to be the same as every other day. It is a bit quieter than usual I guess, but just like a holiday weekend or something, almost not worth mentioning. Bangkok is still going on with life, business as usual, I even visited Central World this weekend (the place that was burned down during the coup in 2010.)  Though we are all still holding our breathe a bit, knowing the situation is like a tinder box made of old bamboo, these peaceful (until this weekend, see below) demonstrations are something to admire not shame, as Thai people from all walks of life demand honesty, justice and democracy.

There are some amazing photos all over the internet (but apparently I am not allowed to use any here...) showing what it is like in these areas where the protests are taking place. These are near government complexes, some in the city, some a bit outside, but are mostly contained to these areas, as they are targeting the government, not their own people. On Saturday night, violence erupted near a university and several students were shot and killed and there still seems to be some confusion about the events that unfolded there. Yesterday the armed forces there began using tear gas and other deterrents to try and discourage the protesters. It seems no such luck. Today even as I write this these conflicts continue. Many international schools in Bangkok are closed today but mine is largely unaffected and remains open, with school and life going on as normal. That seems to be the normal human reaction to all of these disasters I have witnessed, life goes on.

It is a very interesting situation playing out and I have been obsessively following every move, though I have only really witnessed it all first hand once while out and about. This Thursday, December 5th is the King's Birthday (and fathers day) so we will see how this all plays out this week as the Thai people hold nothing more dearly than their beloved King and I have high doubts they would do anything to dishonor him or their country on this day (I get the day off school so either way I'm cool!)

I must also give credit when it is deserved and it has been great to see the Thai people come together for something they feel strongly about and the peaceful protests thus far have been well planned and insightful (not usually traits observed here on a daily basis mind you) and I hope that a peaceful and constructive solution is agreed upon soon so we can get back to life here in the capital.

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